Friday, June 15, 2012

The Pause

     Tracey at Thinking Stems got me thinking about what I learned  this year and about reading partnerships. I learned kids need lots of time to read, time and practice to take pauses while reading, space to think, time to write and people to talk to along the way. 
     I've written about how I encouraged students to pause to save and pause to think this year. It's the pause, I believe that builds comprehension. It's the pause that lets you know the book has you. It's that moment as a reader where you decide, "Wait... this is really important! I need this information or this event to stick to my brain, or, I know I need to remember this." It's also the moment where for me as a reader I wish someone was reading along with me so we could both pause and stop to talk about what just happened, or what was just learned. That's where the thinking comes in, the comprehension, the deep plunge into the book, to gain new understandings or deeper meanings. When students truly are submarine reading, or reading deep for meaning they are able to pause to think, to connect, to notice, to wonder, to infer. 
     I also started thinking more about reading partnerships and how to better foster them next year. Pausing to save and think, and jotting ideas give readers a starting point for conversations. These conversations about what kids paused to think and save are the heart of reading, of meaning making. 
     Some of my very best lessons this year were when I pulled out  quality picture books I had gotten at the Jr. Library Guild Sale. Together as a class we simply dove in, pausing to save important information and pausing to think abut what we read. Our conversations along the way helped clear up confusion, and extend meaning. They often gave us next steps to learn more about what we had read by going to YouTube or Wikipedia.
     My goal for next year is to guide kids to have these conversations within book partnerships about what they saved, and what they thought about what they were reading. I'm not so sure beyond guided reading and whole class lessons if we made time for this. Towards the end of the year I noticed several of my boys chose to read their books together. They were motivated when they were allowed to talk and jot together. I wish I had pushed for this earlier in the year. Kids jotted like crazy this year but I'm not sure they had the time built in to discuss their important thoughts with others, especially with others reading the same book!

     I also got to thinking I love to hear about parts in books that make other readers pause. I'm so excited to read Choice Words this summer because I know a group of teachers will be reading it along with me. I know their thinking will push my own thinking. Which words will get them thinking, and why?? This is where conversations hold power for me. Other readers sharing their own pauses in places I had not thought to pause will make my own understandings stronger. So here's to a goal for next year ... to help kids build partnerships where they can share their pauses more often and notice their thinking grew through conversation. All in all I hope this inspires some passion for reading!